A free smartphone app designed to help children and their parents identify the amount of sugar in food and drinks is being hailed as a boon to adults who are concerned about nutrition-related hair loss.
The Sugar Smart app has been created to try and help families become better informed about the amount of sugar they are consuming through their everyday diet. Public Health England, who created the app, have stated that an average child’s annual sugar intake is more than 20kg a year. That’s the equivalent of more than 10,000 sugar cubes which is shocking enough but mind-blowing when compared to the guideline intakes.
According to the BBC, “recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK’s offical nutrition advisors are that only 5% of your daily calorie intake should consist of added, or ‘free’ sugars. This equates to approximately five-six teaspoons (25g) for women and seven-eight teaspoons (35g) for men.’ ‘Free’ sugars refers to sucrose and fructose and the percentage applies to children as well as adults.
Worldwide health concern
Sugar intake has been in the news a lot recently following a variety of reports from respected sources which state that the western world is consuming far too much of the natural sweetener – and that conditions from heart problems to diabetes are spiking as a result.
A number of these resulting health conditions can cause hairloss as a side effect or warning sign of an illness. However, a recent study has also linked sugar and thinning hair directly, making it a more immediate correlation.
Sugar’s specific role in hair loss, according to one noted scientist in Copenhagen involved in the study, causes a rapid glucose spike in the blood which leads to an overreaction by certain hormones. This, he claims, can lead to hair damage in a number of ways including general hair thinning.
A further problem with too much sugar is that it can lead to obesity and, in turn, Type 2 diabetes. Belgravia’s senior trichologist Leonora Doclis has previously stated that diabetes can put the body under enormous stress and that hair growth can suffer as a result. Fortunately, she says, hair loss due to diabetes is usually only temporary – though further complications can arise if diabetes leads to hormonal imbalances. These, in turn, can lead to more prolonged shedding.
Balanced diet, healthy hair
One of the main issues with sugar consumption is “hidden sugar” in foods and drinks. As the charts pictured here show, these unexpected dietary sources of sugar contribute to far too great a quantity being consumed across the age groups and undoubtedly contributing to the current obesity crisis.
This is why, in 2014, the WHO issued a new set of directives with recommendations for sugar consumption halved in comparison to previous advice – and now Public Health England’s app is hoping to help people stick to these guidelines.
The Sugar Smart app works by using smartphone cameras to scan barcodes of more than 75,000 products and showing the amount of sugar the scanned product contains stacked up in sugar cubes. This could prove especially useful to anyone concerned that their increased sugar intake – particularly around Easter or Christmas – is behind their excessive shedding.
While that may sound a rather outlandish possibility, there are many factors that can influence and speed up a number of hair loss conditions. Poor diet, for instance, is the main cause of the hair loss condition Telogen Effluvium, which causes diffuse thinning all across the scalp. In turn, this can trigger Male or Female Pattern Hair Loss in those with a genetic predisposition.
Although a healthy, balanced diet – topped up with a dedicated dietary supplement where necessary – will not keep genetic hair loss at bay, it can help ensure that the body has a fighting chance of minimising whatever nature throws at it.
For that reason, a consultation at Belgravia always includes a look at the client’s lifestyle to see what steps, alongside treatment, can be taken to help people get back on track.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.